Theo Mann - Bouwmeester

Date of birth
Date deceased


As a descendant of the Bouwmeester family of actors, Theo Mann - Bouwmeester took to the stage while still a child. She began to perform in her father’s travelling company, and after his death started working for another company. When she was about twenty, she performed the standard popular works at the Salon des Variétés in Amsterdam.

When she saw the French actress Sarah Bernhardt perform in Amsterdam in 1880, Mann - Bouwmeester decided to follow her example. In that same year, she broke through with the piece 'Froufrou', which had also brought Bernhardt considerable success. In 1885, Mann - Bouwmeester joined the Koninklijke Vereeniging Het Nederlandsch Toneel, where she would remain for almost 35 years.

At her 40th anniversary on stage in 1911, she was offered the Theo Mann - Bouwmeester Ring by her appreciative spectators. She was allowed to pass this ring onto another worthy actress, which she did in 1934, to Else Mauhs. Mauhs didn’t find any of her colleagues worthy of the honour, so after her death the ring was awarded to Caro van Eyck by a specially created foundation.

In 1912, Mann-Bouwmeester played her first major film role as Queen Iocaste in the Sophocles film adaptation Koning Oedipus. She then appeared in the melodramas Mea Culpa and Pro Domo.

Mann - Bouwmeester’s participation in the stage actors’ strike of 1920 led to her leaving Het Nederlandsch Toneel, which suddenly meant she had no more steady income, though she did still act in the films Helleveeg, Schande and Judith. Her pension was only secured in 1926, when the city of Amsterdam granted her an annual allowance. Theo Mann - Bouwmeester was then already in her mid-70s. Her official farewell followed not long afterwards.



  1. 1912
    Queen Jocasta
  2. 1918
  3. 1918
    Countess De Grancé
  4. 1920
    Mrs. Van Wijck
  5. 1923
    Jane's stepmother
  6. 1924
    Anne Delcourt, his mother

more information

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